Going global with M&A

International expansion can help a business get closer to clients and suppliers, but achieving this is a big task. Growing through targeted acquisitions can help a business to go global more quickly, with the right private equity partner able to make the journey smooth. Inflexion has supported over 100 international acquisitions across 27 countries for its portfolio, and is acutely aware of the potential global M&A offers and how to make the most of it.

Geographic expansion can be a great way to grow a business, especially across borders. Using M&A can help leapfrog organic progress and unlock a multitude of advantages.

Done correctly, acquisitive growth can bring operational efficiency as combined resources can lead to cost savings through optimised resource allocation. There is also the benefit of being a player of scale, which means enhanced bargaining power, competitive pricing, improved supply chain stability and boosted brand recognition.

Inflexion’s offices in Europe and international experts across Asia and the Americas bring invaluable expertise and local connections to smooth out expansion into these high-growth markets.

The Inflexion portfolio reaches 160 countries today. “Businesses can step change their growth with carefully managed M&A. We help find acquisition targets in the UK and internationally, negotiate the transaction, and assist with the integration. It is time-consuming but incredibly rewarding if done properly, so most of the acquisitions we support are done within the first year of our partnership, meaning we then take time to work together to integrate the business,” says Flor Kassai, Partner at Inflexion.   

A selection of Inflexion’s international M&A is below.

Ocorian: Creating a multi-jurisdictional corporate service and fund administration leader

Inflexion has worked with Ocorian since 2016 when it carved the fund administration business out of the law firm Bedell Cristin, since which time the company has grown into an international business of true scale. An ambitious programme of global M&A has seen 12 acquisitions including the transformational purchase of Estera in 2019 to grow Ocorian into a multi-jurisdictional corporate service and fund administration leader. In 2021 Ocorian also acquired Nordic Trustee, providing access to the fast-growing Nordic bond and direct lending markets. In 2023, Ocorian acquired A-Pass, a Hong Kong based Corporate Services provider to further cement its position in the APAC market. In all, 13 acquisitions have taken place across the UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Americas and APAC.

The M&A has been complemented by significant investment into technology to ensure best-in-class client service along with the realisation of synergies through the integration of the businesses. Today Ocorian operates from 20 key global jurisdictions with over 1,200 employees serving over 8,000 clients globally.

“Inflexion has been an invaluable partner to Ocorian as we have grown the business with a number of strategic acquisitions which have broadened its service and geographic offering,” explains Frederik van Tuyll, Chair of Ocorian.

Aspen: Doubled geographic reach and tripled EBITDA

Inflexion has worked with Aspen across two partnership periods. We initially invested in the specialist engineering business between 2007 and 2015, during which time the company doubled its geographic reach from 50 to 100 countries, with a four-fold increase of sales in India and China, all leading to a tripling of EBITDA.

Since our 2020 re-investment we’ve supported nine bolt-on acquisitions in the UK, Australia, Malaysia, Italy and the USA and we are now helping Aspen to build a strong in-country presence across North America.

Radius: Five acquisitions in a single month

Radius is a global solutions provider to the fleet and logistics market and received minority capital funding from Inflexion Partnership Capital in January 2018. The firm has gone on to make 26 acquisitions since then, with the US, the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany adding to the company’s UK roots. Its first acquisition with Inflexion’s support was the strategic purchase of Adam Phones, which expanded the Group’s operations into the telecoms sector the same year of the initial investment, and a further five in the space of a single month took place at the end of 2019. These included CyntrX, which is playing an important role in Radius’ expansion of fleet management in the US.

Medivet: Doubled sales and headcount

Veterinary chain Medivet received minority partnership capital from Inflexion in 2016 when the firm had around 150 sites, mostly in the south of the UK. The UK rollout saw numbers more than double to over 300, while the last year of partnership in 2021 saw an international push into Germany and Spain, with over 40 practices acquired in what was then a very fragmented market. Acquiring internationally enabled the firm to build a bigger footprint and proof of concept to truly differentiate Medivet from its competitors.

“Inflexion were the perfect partner for Medivet as the business accelerated its UK and overseas expansion both organically and via acquisition. Their support was invaluable,” Deirdre Burns, Executive Chair, Medivet, says of the journey.

Medivet was sold to CVC Capital Partners in 2021.

Alcumus: Six acquisitions in six years

Inflexion supported the international expansion of Alcumus, a global market leader in technology-led risk management and compliance solutions, between 2015 and 2022, with six acquisitions undertaken in as many years with Inflexion’s support, helping to enhance the company’s offering and international footprint. Half of these were in North America: eCompliance, ContractorCheck and Cognibox, and the transformational acquisition of Santia took place within nine weeks of the initial investment. Two further accretive add-on acquisitions were completed in the UK thereafter. Management also worked with Inflexion to build a new customer platform, improve its value proposition and strengthen its ESG framework.

“Our work together with Inflexion exceeded our already high expectations. Their expertise in M&A and international expansion together with their tech know-how made a transformational difference to our business,” enthuses Alyn Franklin, CEO.

At the time of the 2022 sale to Apax Partners, more than 25% of Alcumus’ group revenue came from North America, helping to generate a 5.9x MoC for investors. Confident of Alcumus’ ongoing potential, Inflexion re-invested shortly thereafter for a minority stake, with three further acquisitions taking place since then.